I’m not really a big believer in resolutions. Why? Because I feel like if you want to do something, JUST DO IT (cue the Nike ads). I joined my gym April 12, 2012. I signed up for my first half-marathon in early August. I started seriously budgeting after I bought my car last March. You shouldn’t hold back and wait around for an excuse to do something. I know it’s scary to dive right in sometimes (I’m human, I get nervous starting something new). You can’t go through life wishing to do something, or waiting for an opportunity to improve yourself – you just need to grab life by the cojones and do it. It’s not easy, but if it was – everyone would do it, right?
If you’ve read B & B before, you would know that I am a fairly health and fitness conscious individual. I’ve been asked how I make time to cook healthy meals, and workout 6 days a week – all while working 40+ hours a week. Usually, I try to cushion my PC response to not hurt anyone’s feelings – but I’m just going to say it: you should be taking care of yourself every. single. day. Fitness and healthy living is a lifestyle. You’ve gotta be mentally prepared to commit to it and be consistent with your health and fitness in order to see results. To be honest, I don’t work out and eat healthy because of how it makes me look (although – duh it’s the best “side effect” EVER), I do it because of how it makes me feel. I feel strong, healthy and empowered when I can see what my body can do, and when I feed myself creative, fun and exciting healthy dishes, I know that I am nourishing my temple (yes, so cliche I know) and giving my body the nutrients it needs to go through life. It’s hard work. If you want to look and feel your best – you’ve got to work out, you’ve got to be conscious of what you eat. It’s a job – you’ve gotta buckle down (trust me though, the reward for all this hard work is unreal).
Now, that being said – I’m not perfect. No one is. It’s continuously a work in progress. And I find that it’s hard to accomplish what seems monumental in one sitting. So, I wanted to break it down into little changes I’ve made to my daily routine over the last two and a half years to get me where I am now. It’s not impossible. And, if you’re a resolution lover, or just want some small tweaks to start out with, or are just curious about my daily routine – here we go!
- Pack your lunch (and your breakfast): This is my number one time saver, and has helped me completely re-vamp my eating habits. I pack my lunch and breakfast (if you need inspiration see my post on overnight oats) every single night. It’s a pain in the ass, and I never look forward to it, but not only does bringing your own lunch from home save calories, it also helps save money. Both your body and your budget will be KILLIN IT.
- Drink more water: I bought a fun reusable water bottle (shocker, I know – if you’ve read any of my Friday Faves posts you’ll know about my obsession) and keep it on my desk at work. I shoot for drinking two bottles a day – one in the morning, one in the afternoon. And more times than not, I’m downing my second bottle as I put my coat on to leave for the day – but hey, at least I do it! In addition, every night before hitting the hay, I put a huge bottle of water by my bed. The first thing I do everyday upon waking is down it. Unless you wake up a million times during the night and pound water, you’re probably waking up dehydrated. Drinking water first thing helps kick-start your metabolism and tells your body – hey, good morning! – time to do some shiz. Once I started doing this last year, I will never go back – it makes me feel so refreshed and ready for my day. And it’s really, really simple.
- Eat more vegetables: Just eat as many vegetables as you can every day. You know it’s good for you, so just do it! I’ll help you with this one. 😉
- Give your pantry a makeover: The key to cooking your way to the picture of health is having your pantry stocked with all the good shiz. Dump your old items for healthy staples (take them to a soup kitchen if possible). Obviously, if you don’t have crap food on hand, you won’t eat it. If there is a bag of tortilla chips, I will sit and eat all of them while I watch bad reality TV – which is exactly why I don’t buy any.
- Maximize your morning: I am a psycho, so I go to the gym at 5 am five days a week. You do you, but starting your day off on the right foot always helps bring a little brightness to your day. Whatever you’re into – relaxing over coffee, laughing with your kids over breakfast, sweating like a paisano like me at the gym, doing Sun Salutations in a mellow yoga class (or just off a DVD). Just make it count. Oh, and make your bed. It takes like two minutes (and you’ll start your day calm, organized and fresh).
- Try a new form of fitness: Try something new that will challenge you mentally and physically. Don’t feel limited by fitness classes – I recently got a LivingSocial deal for rock climbing with my gym boo R, and I am so pumped to try it out! One of the first classes I ever tried was a barre class. It made me fall in love with strength training. Since then, I’ve tried every fitness class I can get my hands on. It’s nice to throw something new into your routine that helps you mix it up. Just go for it! 🙂
- Get up and move yo’ booty: I recently got a fitness tracker as a Christmas gift. Even when I *think* I am being active during the day, I am always surprised when it tells me to get up and move because I’ve been sedentary for the last hour. Get up, walk around, stretch, wave your arms, do jumping jacks in the bathroom – whatever your scene is. Get that blood flowin’. Also helpful – I got a yoga ball chair for my desk and when I’m getting ancy (hello, ADHD!) or am stuck on a problem I literally bounce up and down while I think. I bet my coworkers think I’m craaaaaaay, but it feels great to get moving.
- Smile: Duh.
- Be nice to yourself: My dad once told me, “You are your own best friend.” That really stuck with me. You need to treat yourself like you would your bestie – do not be too hard on yourself (we ALL do it!!). We all have days where we wish we could have been a rock star of health, but don’t beat yourself up just because you ditched the gym. Love yourself and your body, even when you’re struggling more than usual. It’s the most important thing you can do. It’s going to be a long life if you don’t love yourself.
- Stretch it out: This is not always my forte, and is still a work in progress. So, maybe we can all work on stretching more together. No matter if it’s just taking a few minutes after a class/your workout, or really going for it by going to yoga, but focus on stretching more everyday. It helps to improve your posture and keep your muscles healthy by giving them a little extra love.
- Rest up: Make sleep a priority. Most nights, I go to bed at 9:30 pm. I try to start winding down at 8 pm (yeah, I know how early that sounds), I make sure my lunch and breakfast are packed, my gym bag is packed, my gym outfit for tomorrow is laid out where I can easily grab it and everything is ready for my early “Go Time”. I usually try to wash my face and brush my teeth 20 minutes ahead of when I want to go to bed so I can lay in bed and read/mellow out. Sometimes I’m bad and I watch Netflix (yeah, yeah we aren’t supposed to be looking at the blue light from all our electronic devices) or check my Instagram feed, but I try to at least give myself time to wind down without looking at a screen before sleep.
- Go outside: Soak up those rays and fresh air. Get your Vitamin D. I find that it helps to reengerize me when I’m flagging. Go for a quick walk at lunch or just step outside and take a breather after work. It makes a world of difference. If you have time on the weekend, go for a hike – or even just a walk around your neighborhood! It gives you perspective when you’re becoming one with nature. 🙂
I think it’s really important to reiterate – we all need to take care of ourselves every day. It’s not easy, we are never going to be perfect, but it really makes a difference in how you view life every day. You really have no idea how liberating, invigorating and sustaining it is to be in charge of your own healthy lifestyle until you’ve found your own happy balance (at least, I know I feel that way – and it’s always a work in progress to maintain that balance). It’s okay to suck at it some days and OWN it other days – we are human, and that is life. It’s okay. Let’s all just do our best. You may surprise yourself at what you are capable of. And you’re not alone – I will be fighting my own (continuous) fight to be healthy and happy, so we can all do it together. If you need a fresh start to do it – the more power to you. Let’s just do it.
And obviously, I will be here to share my journey with you as we go through this life – ups, downs, amazing recipes and kitchen disasters. It’s beautiful and it’s terrible, but we are all in it together.
I believe in the good things coming.